Pre-Market Prep – It’s Worth It

Three key steps to prepare a property for sale before going on the market

I just got back from the Inman Luxury conference in Beverly Hills, a meeting of the top brokers from around the country. One topic that kept coming up was the “HGTV effect”.

The “expectation of the consumer is that they can easily see what the house could be” was a pithy comment from one panel. Especially with legacy properties like many that LandVest represents, helping a buyer see what a property “could be” goes well beyond a fresh doormat or pillows (though those help, too!). We talk about staging in other posts.

We are often asked to come up with a cost-effective plan for getting a legacy property ready for market.

There are easy things, which some sellers find challenging despite short money and big impact:  decluttering, de-odorizing, paint, and floors.
And there are hard things: understanding what can be done on the property and at what cost, dealing with septic, oil tanks, asbestos…

pre-market prep

Let’s start with a big one: we recently closed on the Lawrence Homestead, an 8,000-square-foot 18th and 19th-century grande dame on Farmer’s Row in Groton, being sold to benefit Groton School and Lawrence Academy. The goal was to find a family to carry on the tradition of this landmark property and to make the house understandable to that audience. While magnificent in site, scale, and detail, it had been used for many years as faculty apartments and needed updating.

  1. We did lots of heavy lifting behind the scenes. Thanks to Nick Pratt and LandVest’s consulting group, we determined that the property had further subdivision and conservation potential, analyzed the historic district restrictions, had a new septic system designed and costed, asbestos removal costed, and had a (huge) underground fuel tank remediated.
  2. We also provided ways for new buyers to see what the house could be: Kevin Latady, a highly-respected architect with extensive experience with historic properties, was engaged to provide alternative renovation plans and budgets. Walking through the house with the plans on an iPad … invaluable.
  3. Finally, never underestimate the value of fresh paint and refinished floors: the caretaker brought in a crew to remove apartment kitchens to bring back two lovely anterooms, beautiful floors were refinished, wallpaper stripped and rooms repainted.

A Few Before and Afters:

pre-market prep MBR

Matching the overmantel color to that of the surround turns a choppy fireplace into a grand focal point

pre-market prep guest

Painting the window sash and seat a lighter color makes this a bright and cozy spot for curling up with a good book

Removing former faculty apartment kitchen cabinets revealed a lovely old fireplace in the master suite

We are delighted that the Lawrence Homestead sold in a competitive bid to a family with deep experience in, and love for, renovating historic properties. See our interview with Lisa about how she fell in love with old houses and with the Lawrence Homestead.  Follow @lisahicksinteriors on Instagram to watch their progress.

LandVest can help you make informed decisions on how to bring your property to market cost-effectively. We focus on return on investments of at least five to one in value.  Just ask, we’re here to help.


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About the Author

Ruth Kennedy Sudduth

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